Martin Rosenthal

About Marty The Seltzer Man

Martin Rosenthal 

Meet Martin Rosenthal, the creator of these paintings. The name Em & Ahr comes from the phonetic sound of Martins initials, M.R. 

Martin Rosenthal has been creating art since his youth, but began formally developing his talents at the Pratt Institute in NYC. After serving in the Vietnam War, Marty roamed the world before ultimately returning home to New York City, where he designed & released a line of unique products that ranged from t-shirts, to art, to bags, to jewelry. Upon his return, Marty also ventured into the seltzer business and became widely known as “Marty The Seltzer Man”. 


The story of "Em & Ahr" begins long, long ago, before there was any “Em & Ahr” or vision of it. It begins somewhere between 1975 and 1983, when Martin Rosenthal was “Marty the Seltzer Man”. A humble New Yorker that delivered carbonated H2O in Seltzer bottles to residents in New York, which is where the first t-shirt design was created.

Fast forward two decades to 1991, when Mr. Rosenthal brought his talents to the streets of New York City as a street vendor. SoHo in Manhattan is where Mr. Rosenthal sold his merchandise, many of which he created and designed himself.

It was only in 2008, that the idea of “Em & Ahr” was formed. When Mr. Rosenthal read the book, “Giovanni’s Room” by James Baldwin, he was so inspired by the writer that he made a shirt of Baldwin while in the Philippines (where he was currently making his polyester tote bags). After receiving great feedback and responses on the shirt, the idea of “Em & Ahr” was established.

All the while, Mr. Rosenthal has been exercising his many backgrounds in art and design by creating everything from bags, to jewelry, to hats, to shirts. And throughout the past decade, Mr. Rosenthal has accumulated a collection of unique shirt designs from his inspirations and imaginations.

Often being under-looked but not underappreciated, Mr. Rosenthal’s artwork has caught the eyes of the special few who passed his table in SoHo, including those of familiar names. They include Michael Cera but are not limited to others such as Forest Whitaker, who loved the beanies, as well as Catherine Deneuve, Tim Robbins, Karl Lagerfeld, Susan Sarandon, Lauren Bacall, Spike Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, Yara Shahidi, Michael Cera,  & Adam Levine. All buying different things, but all recognizing the singularity in each.

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If you're in the NYC area, visit Marty for a tee or a conversation. Marty is across the street from the Apple Store (103 Prince st) in SoHo, Manhattan.

Marty is featured in countless articles and blogs, as well as being mentioned in novels and books. Explore below: